Food Future Under the Microscope

19 Nov 2015

A ground-breaking research project by University of Queensland Law Professor Brad Sherman could go a long way towards feeding millions of starving people around the world.

Professor Sherman has been awarded a prestigious $2.76 million Australian Research Council (ARC) fellowship to examine how intellectual property can be used to boost food security.

Professor Sherman said little research had been done in the field despite the importance of intellectual property to agricultural production.

“Great advances are being made in agricultural production but how to secure that knowledge to benefit society isn’t widely known and that’s what I am hoping to achieve,” Prof Sherman said.

“I’ll be travelling to a number of countries to talk to policy makers and industry stakeholders to help develop better systems for improving their food security.”

The Asian Development Bank estimates 537 million people remain undernourished in the Asia Pacific and the region’s seven per cent annual growth rate is putting even more pressure on food sources.

“The aim is to maximise the benefits and minimise the costs of using intellectual property protection to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Australia and the Asia Pacific,” he said.

ARC fellowships are a highly competitive Commonwealth government grant supporting excellence in research.

Three UQ academics have been awarded ARC laureates in the latest funding round.

“The support I’ve received since joining UQ has been phenomenal,” Prof. Sherman said.

“The staff are world-class and the law library is very well resourced which makes a huge difference.

“The help I have received from not just the law school but other departments such as UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) greatly contributed to me being awarded this fellowship.”

Dean of Law Professor Sarah Derrington said Prof. Sherman’s appointment as an ARC Laureate was an indication of the quality of teaching and scholarship at the school.

“Professor Sherman’s expertise in the field of intellectual property is second to none and he is an asset to our academic team,” Prof Derrington said.

“The ARC fellowship will enhance UQ’s knowledge in this area and will greatly benefit the students.

“I wish Professor Sherman and his team all the best and I look forward to seeing the outcome of his work.”

Professor David Craik from the Institute of Molecular Bioscience and Philip Hugenholtz from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience are the other UQ ARC Laureates for 2015.


Professor Brad Sherman from TC Beirne School of Law on Vimeo.